Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s ambition and ruthlessness made him one of the wealthiest, most powerful and most violent criminals of all time.
Pablo Escobar, born on December 1, 1949, in Antioquia, Colombia, entered the cocaine trade in the early 1970s. He collaborated with other criminals to form the Medellin Cartel. He was killed in 1993.
Referred to by his brother, Roberto, as a modern day Robin Hood, Escobar often paid for low-cost housing and other community necessities for the poor people of his neighbourhood. It was apparently a meticulously built image that Escobar promoted in his own newspaper and which ensured his protection by many Medellin citizens.
Escobar built his drug trafficking industry to such an extent that he eventually controlled over 80% of the cocaine sent to America. With his own factories and an entire fleet of aeroplanes and ships, including two radio-controlled submarines, it has been estimated that Escobar smuggled 70 to 80 tonnes of cocaine from Colombia to America per month, and as much as 11 tonnes in each flight. In order to launder the drug money, the Medellin Cartel controlled a large amount of crooked white-collar workers, such as bankers, lawyers and extended family.
In 1989 Escobar was listed as the seventh Richest Man in the World by Forbes magazine, with a fortune rumoured to be around $24 billion. He certainly loved to display his wealth and lived an extravagant lifestyle. He invested much of his money in real estate, splashing out on luxurious homes, many with private helicopter ports. He owned numerous cars, helicopters and aeroplanes, a private zoo for which he imported exotic wild animals, and a massive garden filled with hundreds of fruit trees. He also owned apartments, banks and large tracts of land. For his own protection, Escobar bought the support of other criminals, who also acted as his guerrilla army, carrying out any violence he demanded.
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